Building Information Modeling Proves Key in Keeping Student Housing Project on Schedule

 |  Laboratories & Healthcare

Sundt’s recently completed project for the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) underscores why student housing has become one of the company’s areas of specialty. The $26.6 million Muir College Apartments are two, nine-story structures that were built in less than 21 months on a tight, densely populated site with very little room for equipment setting, storage, or delivery of materials. The project team contended with close proximity to existing residences and academic buildings, and a very busy dining operation within footsteps of the construction site. They also dealt with frequent rains, as well as vehicle and pedestrian traffic on a road that bisected their work area. Despite these challenges, the project was finished on time and within budget, and it is expected to exceed the owner’s original LEED Silver goal by achieving LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

One of the keys to the project’s success? Building Information Modeling (BIM).  Heavy rains early in the project caused flooding and delays during excavation. Using BIM, the team made up the time later in the schedule by re-sequencing certain activities and adjusting timeframes allotted for tasks where possible.

“BIM played a significant role in the schedule and making things go smoothly overall,” said Project Manager Jamie Frye. “For example, there were many utilities in the concrete decks, so the subcontractors utilized data from BIM for their surveying equipment to locate all of their insert points in the decks. It was much quicker than if they had laid out everything by hand from grid lines. BIM probably cut that part of the project schedule in half.”

The cast-in-place concrete buildings can accommodate up to 275 students from the university’s Muir College in an apartment-style living environment.  This was Sundt’s second student housing project for UCSD. The first, called One Miramar Street, was an 800 bed/800 parking space complex for single graduate students. It was completed in 2007.